Memories of the Alhambra: Episode 13
Our hero finally lets others into the AR world, though he keeps them at a distance because getting too close could get them killed. Despite the adverse consequences, he has no other choice but to invite others into his reality, and that buys him the necessary time to proceed with the quest. With the help of his few remaining allies, Jin-woo also discovers some answers, and it’s just the impetus he needs to continue the quest to find Se-joo.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
It’s the day before Jin-woo’s interrogation, and Yang-joo sneaks out of the company to meet Jin-woo at the PPL Subway. Jin-woo asks Yang-joo to develop more special items for when the server reopens, and Yang-joo initially refuses because of his busy schedule preparing for the upcoming showcase.
Jin-woo asks for Yang-joo to help out of loyalty and insists that his life depends on it. He manages to charm Yang-joo over to his side and agrees to Yang-joo’s terms to make him vice president if Jin-woo starts a new company.
As Yang-joo munches on Jin-woo’s sandwich, he notices Jin-woo receiving a call from Hee-joo and asks if they’re dating. When Jin-woo refuses to answer, Yang-joo correctly assumes that they’re dating and throws a fuss that NPC Emma (alter ego Hee-joo) is his favorite character. Jin-woo looks amused and asks if he should apologize.
Jin-woo buys more sandwiches for heartbroken Yang-joo and the team, and before he leaves, Yang-joo mentions that Emma has a special skill. Through giddy conversation with Emma, Yang-joo learned that users could gain experience and recovery points — something Jin-woo already learned in Granada — but in addition to that, no battles could happen in a 20-meter radius of Emma. She would make the weapons disappear.
Yang-joo presumes that Emma’s placement in Café Alcazaba (the game user gathering spot) was intentional and that she played the role of peacekeeper. Later during their date night, Jin-woo asks Hee-joo if she has any connection to Café Alcazaba, and she explains that she used to work there. She was close with the former owner and would perform classical guitar occasionally.
As we see Jin-woo’s first encounter with Emma at Café Alcazaba, he narrates: “Our beginning may have been here at the place, where it rains and thunders 365 days a year and music of Memories of Alhambra flows. Strictly speaking, it may have begun with Emma.”
In a flashback at Café Alcazaba, we see Se-joo refusing Marco’s deal and timidly claiming 70% of the earnings when they sell the game because he did most of the work. Marco looks irritated and warns Se-joo not to provoke him by requesting the larger proportion again.
Se-joo nervously follows Marco to the bathroom and threatens to not the sell the game if Marco doesn’t agree to his terms. Picking at his fingers, Se-joo insists on meeting Hyung-seok himself, and Marco belittles him, knowing that Se-joo would just stutter in the meeting.
When Marco returns from the bathroom, they’re still waiting for Hyung-seok to arrive at the café. Marco pretends to check his phone and then stabs Se-joo in the torso. As he digs the knife deeper, Marco seethes that Se-joo better stop acting up before he kills him in front of his sister (NPC Emma).
Jin-woo narrates that Marco injuring Se-joo in real life in front of Emma had consequences, and we see a wave run through the game interface, causing the NPC characters to freeze.
Marco looks annoyed by the glitch, and Se-joo uses that window to run out of the café, clutching his side. Marco follows him out with the knife, and the wave through the game interface runs through the alleyway as well. Frightened Se-joo crawls away on the ground, and when Marco lunges toward him, Se-joo shoots him with a gun.
At the gunshot, Marco caves in pain and sees his hand covered in blood. He curses Se-joo for shooting with a real gun, but Se-joo shakes his head. He puts the gun down, and we see that it’s a game weapon. Se-joo just barely escapes as Marco whips out his gun to chase down Se-joo.
Meanwhile, Hyung-seok waits at the café, where unfrozen Emma performs classical guitar. He’s stood up by the two game developers, who have somehow corrupted the game. Jin-woo narrates that Emma may be the only witness to how the two disappeared.
In Jin-woo’s hotel room, Hee-joo finds Emma playing the guitar and slowly approaches her. She looks at NPC Emma curiously as we hear Jin-woo’s request for Hee-joo to meet with Emma. Hee-joo sees Emma through the game lenses and greets her. Emma stops her performance and looks to Hee-joo with a smile.
As the servers turn back on, Jin-woo seems hopeful that they still have an opportunity to continue the quest, but as he thinks back to his near-death experience in the dungeon, he wonders if he’ll survive this time.
We return to Jin-woo’s confrontation with Professor Cha, who logs into the game and looks alarmed by the sudden thunderstorm. Jin-woo instructs Professor Cha on how to survive: stay away from Jin-woo, leave Seoul, and delete the user ID immediately.
Jin-woo tells Professor Cha that the server must remain open until he finishes the quest and finds a resolution. He also restricts all users except for himself and those with his permission, and he tells Professor Cha to follow orders to avoid bankruptcy.
Then, Professor Cha sees the game notification that an enemy has arrived. He swivels around and spots NPC Hyung-seok approaching Jin-woo. Unable to believe his eyes, tearful Professor Cha calls out to Hyung-seok, causing the NPC to shift his target. NPC Hyung-seok marches to Professor Cha, and just as he lifts his sword, Jin-woo shoots him dead.
NPC Hyung-seok slumps down in front of Professor Cha, and his cold dead eyes look directly at his father. The dead NPC disappears before Professor Cha’s eyes, and Jin-woo instructs him to call for his car to leave campus. Jin-woo shoots down the game enemies as he walks toward Professor Cha without his cane, his leg still healed in the game. He hands Professor Cha his phone with one hand and proceeds to shoot an approaching enemy with his other hand without even turning. So badass.
Professor Cha rushes to the elevator and holds onto the rails, as Jin-woo tells the driver to escort Professor Cha to his home in Pyeongchang immediately. Breathing heavily, Professor Cha takes out the contacts in his eyes and braces himself in the elevator.
When Professor Cha exits the building, he’s shocked to find more enemies materializing in front of him. He flails as they approach him, but they’re shot down. Professor Cha turns around to find Jin-woo with a sniper gun, defending Professor Cha as he makes his way to safety.
Jin-woo continues to shoot down the enemies as Professor Cha runs to his car, but he’s unable to stop an enemy from slicing Professor Cha’s arm. Professor Cha yells in pain and crawls into the car, ordering his driver to leave quickly, while Jin-woo continues to defeat the hoard of enemies attacking him.
In the car, Professor Cha winces in pain as blood runs down his arm. He remembers Jin-woo’s warning that they now share a fate as allies — they will live and die together until the end. As they leave Seoul, the game notifies Professor Cha that he’s out of bounds, which causes his game to pause and his wound to heal.
At a rest stop, Professor Cha calls the company and orders for his user ID to be deleted immediately. He also orders the server to remain open, despite not having Director Park’s approval. Still shaken from the attack, Professor Cha remembers Jin-woo’s healed leg in the game and Director Park’s claim that on all surveillance cameras, Jin-woo still had his limp (hmm interesting).
While under attack, Professor Cha asked Jin-woo how this could be, and Jin-woo numbly responded that he’s been asking that same question for the past year. Professor Cha distresses over the reality of this game refuting everything he’s known to believe.
After smiling for the cameras in a CF shoot, Yu-ra irately returns to her dressing room and finds her manager watching the news on Jin-woo’s absence for the police interrogation. Only Soo-jin has showed up for questioning, and when she’s told about Jin-woo’s absence, she looks worried.
Jin-woo calls Yang-joo for information on where to find the high-level enemies because he needs to level up quickly. Yang-joo scolds Jin-woo for playing the game at a time like this, when Jin-woo is the talk of the nation. Students on campus taking videos of Jin-woo as he shoots down an enemy as he gets into his car, and Jin-woo reminds Yang-joo that his life depends on defeating the game.
When Jin-woo comes to a stop light, he sees a crowd of level-1 enemies materialize around his car and approach him menacingly. Just as they surround his car, he receives a map from Yang-joo with the pinned locations of high-level enemies, and he speeds off to level up.
Director Park goes directly from the airport to meet Professor Cha in his hideout spot, and he carefully asks for an update. Professor Cha doesn’t acknowledge Director Park and remains still in his chair until he reluctantly admits that he ran away in fear of Hyung-seok.
Director Park finally realizes that Jin-woo was telling the truth about the hallucinations, but Professor Cha can’t get himself to verbally acknowledge the truth. When Director Park tries to order the shutdown of the server, Professor Cha stops him and says that Jin-woo chose to resolve the problems this way.
Frantic about Jin-woo’s reality, Director Park urges Professor Cha to halt the reinvestigation, since Jin-woo is innocent. But Professor Cha says that he’s come too far. He’s betrayed himself.
In bedrest, Grandma watches the news of Jin-woo’s absence at the interrogation and public spottings of him in the city. She worriedly asks Hee-joo if Jin-woo has really gone mad.
Hee-joo flips through her notes from her time as a guide at Alhambra and tries to call Jin-woo, but he doesn’t answer. She remembers how Jin-woo looked like he was really in pain from the game injury, and she worriedly heads out to find him. Hee-joo calls Yang-joo to confirm his location and that they’re the only two users logged into the game.
After parking her car, Hee-joo follows the game GPS through Myeongdong and enters a restaurant to find Jin-woo. He’s drinking alone and smiles (with his swoony dimple) at her, unsurprised. He knew he was on her way and lightly scolds her for ignoring his request to only use the game in his hotel room.
Hee-joo looks more concerned with all the injuries that she now sees through the game interface and cries. Jin-woo isn’t fazed by her reaction and tells her to sit down, since everyone in the restaurant is starting to recognize him. He asks her to accompany him while he takes a break and assures her that he’ll recover from the injuries in an hour.
Suddenly, an NPC soldier appears in the restaurant, and Jin-woo pushes Hee-joo aside to shoot the enemy dead. Hee-joo looks terrified and immediately follows Jin-woo’s orders to log out of the game. She asks why he continues to play this dangerous game, and Jin-woo says that it’s the only way. He smiles as he assures her that he’s quite the force in the game, now that he’s at level 95.
Jin-woo asks if she’s had any luck with Emma, but Hee-joo shakes her head. Emma tends to appear and disappear randomly, and Hee-joo doesn’t know what to ask her. But she did recognize the accessory on the Emma’s right hand: the Hand of Fatima. Hee-joo explains that the Hand of Fatima also appears above the Gate of Justice at Alhambra Palace.
Hee-joo figures that Se-joo got inspiration from her guide books, which he borrowed for a period to create an item. She explains the significance to Jin-woo: Fatima was the daughter of the prophet Muhammad, and in Islam, the Hand of Fatima is believed to open the door to heaven. According to legend, the day that the Hand and the key to heaven unite, the gate of justice would open and the palace would collapse.
Jin-woo catches the mention of a key, and Hee-joo clarifies that there are two images on the gate: the Hand and the key. Jin-woo remembers overhearing the tour guide mentioning the key at the gate, and he takes out the key from his item inventory. As he looks at the key, he realizes that Se-joo sent him to the dungeon to find the key, not to save him.
In a flashback, we return to Marco’s deadly pursuit of Se-joo through the woods. Furious Marco had shot at Se-joo relentlessly, even resorting to a higher caliber gun to shoot at Se-joo. Hiding behind rocks, Se-joo blindly shot back at Marco with two handguns, and the game informed him that he defeated Marco.
At Café Alcabaza, Hyung-seok’s assistant continued to call Marco, and Se-joo followed the sound of Marco’s vibrating phone to find his dead body. Hyung-seok took the phone to call for himself, and someone finally answered.
Breathing heavily, Se-joo told Hyung-seok that Marco couldn’t meet him and that they couldn’t sell the game. Hyung-seok angrily demanded that Marco show up in the next hour and threatened to kill them if they went back on the deal. Se-joo hung up on Hyung-seok, who thought that these kids were playing him.
Unable to trust anyone, Se-joo contacted Jin-woo out of desperation and faced the terrors of the morphing game. Putting together the pieces, Jin-woo narrates: “He feared that he would die either in the game or in real life. So he went into hiding, waiting for his hidden master key to be delivered to Emma. This is where the quest ends.”
At the restaurant, Jin-woo imagines himself delivering the key to Emma and smiles in relief. Hee-joo asked if she was any help, and Jin-woo says that it’s all up to him now.
In the bathroom, Jin-woo calls Yang-joo and asks him to send the special items. As Yang-joo sends them, he mentions that Director Park has returned and was trying to reach Jin-woo. Walking back to the restaurant, he picks up a call from Director Park, who urgently breaks the news that Yu-ra just stirred up more trouble.
Jin-woo notices the police cars nearby and cautiously reenters the restaurant, where he overhears police officers questioning Hee-joo about Jin-woo’s whereabouts. Jin-woo makes a run for it, and the police officers chase after him. Hee-joo runs out and worriedly watches this sudden pursuit.
Finally! I say this regarding many fronts — Emma’s significance, Hee-joo’s involvement in the game, and the sequence of events leading up to Se-joo’s disappearance. I’m pleased with how Emma has been tied into the game as a symbol of peace and protection, and I love that it reflects Se-joo’s perception of his older sister. Hee-joo has always been their family’s protector, and it seems fitting that Emma’s core function is to neutralize and protect. Speaking of Hee-jo, rejoice — she’s finally playing the game! I’ve been waiting for this moment, and though it’s a lot more of a passive involvement in the game, I find it a win in my book. Hee-joo holds all the knowledge when it comes to the contents of the game. Her role as a tour guide was intentional, and she should have been Jin-woo’s reference all along. I wish this was the relationship that we saw earlier because that dynamic seems more natural and buildable.
I always love a good sprinkle of history, so I really enjoyed how Alhambra was incorporated into this episode. I’m not sure how accurately the symbolism of the Hand of Fatima (also known as the Hamsa) was portrayed, but I did fact check that the legend of the Gate of Justice was true. The connection between the hand and the key was a great resolution to the quest, and now that we supposedly know how this nightmare ends, I’m sure that it won’t be as simple as it looks.
With the unpredictable nature of this story, I’m finding that my anticipation for plot twists are at a heightened state, so when the plot twists don’t happen, I’m disappointed. With Professor Cha’s first experience in the game, I had hyped myself up that this wasn’t his first time playing the game and imagined that he would be positioned as Jin-woo’s enemy. I consider it a missed opportunity to make him a better antagonist, and I think it’s also a missed opportunity that no other game developers were lured into the game. I would have loved to see Yang-joo try to navigate the game, and I hope we’re lucky enough to see some fresh faces in the AR world in these last few episodes.
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